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Melissa Mark-Viverito

Melissa Mark-Viverito

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    Assembly member Robert Rodriguez (photo: Elbert Garcia/Former Rep. Charles Rangel's Office)


    State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, a Democrat from East Harlem running for the City Council, has a second job at an asset management and financial consulting firm that has earned him hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years. But, if Rodriguez wins the Council seat, which will be vacated by term-limited Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the end of the year, he would have to give up his position at the firm under new rules passed by the Council

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    Ruben Diaz Jr. introduces Diana Ayala, alongside Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @jtaranto)


    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Speaker of the City Council, is term-limited and leaving office at the end of this year, which, aside from indicating that there will be a new leader of the Council, means her position representing the Council’s 8th District is “open.”

    Since 2005, Mark-Viverito has represented the district, which includes East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx. New York State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, whose district encompasses much of District 8, and Diana

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    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    The New York City Council’s bail fund, a signature project of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, has officially launched operations and is actively taking on cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    “We had a very soft rollout in June and July,” said Dave Long, executive director of The Liberty Fund, the official name of the fund, which provides bail to low-level offenders facing misdemeanor charges who cannot afford to post bail. The most common misdemeanor charges in Brooklyn, for instance, are for

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    Mark-Viverito at East Harlem planning session (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    The de Blasio administration’s plan to significantly alter a large section of East Harlem is in the middle of a contentious process, with its fate unclear. The proposed changes to land use rules and infusion of community development resources -- part of the administration’s larger efforts to build more housing, some of it with affordability requirements, and improve neighborhoods -- have not been to the liking of key elected officials

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    Council Member Levine and Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    The New York City Council passed a bill on Thursday to guarantee free legal services to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court. The bill codifies an agreement, announced in February this year, between the Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio to fully fund anti-eviction

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (center) and Council Member Johnson (r) (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    A number of City Council Members who are jockeying to replace Melissa Mark-Viverito as the next Speaker of the City Council seem to be stepping up efforts to curry favor with their colleagues and other elected officials through strategic campaign donations.

    The latest campaign

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    Max & Murphy on Politics is a podcast hosted by Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Jarrett Murphy of City Limits. It began in 2016 focused on housing policy and politics when those issues were front and center to city and state politics and government, but it has expanded since. Now, in 2017, we are focused on the city election cycle, heading toward the September primary and November general elections. Find episodes through the links below, or find Max & Murphy wherever you get your

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    (photo: Council Member Lander's office)


    After an 11-day window in which over 100,000 residents of pertinent districts cast ballots, the City Council recently announced the winners of the 2016-17 participatory budgeting cycle. Thirty-one of 51 Council districts participated this year, leading to $34 million in capital funds going towards hyper-local projects chosen directly by the districts’ voters.

    A total of 138 projects received funding in this cycle, with most districts backing three to five projects. Some districts awarded funding for many more

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    Ruben Diaz Jr. (photo: @rubendiazjr)


    Just last month the annual Somos El Futuro legislative conference took place in Albany. Over 30 years ago a group of Latino elected officials and community leaders initiated the conference as a means to highlight issues important to Latinos and to shine a light on the plight of Latinos in New York. The visionary leadership of these early pioneers was to capitalize on and give consciousness to the ever-growing presence of Latinos in the state. Perhaps the name itself, Somos El Futuro -- We are the Future -- was not only a testament

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (all photos: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council held its first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.86 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2018 on Thursday, and Council members gave the mayor a mixed review for his updated spending plan. They praised de Blasio for increasing funding for a number of recommendations made by the Council and for taking steps to control the capital budget. But, Council members expressed concern that crucial priorities remained unfunded, or underfunded, even as the latest budget plan increased projected

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    The Mayor presents the budget (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    Nearly $200 million more in spending and $587 million in savings were added to the budget for the 2018 fiscal year in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest iteration of the city’s spending plan released on Wednesday.

    The mayor presented an $84.86 billion executive budget, which increased proposed spending from the $84.67 billion proposed in the preliminary budget in January. The new spending is targeted at early childhood education, job creation, veterans services, anti-eviction

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    Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    Local legislators from large cities across the country will gather at the New York City Council chambers at City Hall on Friday and Saturday, in a first-of-its-kind conference to exchange ideas on policy, governance and, perhaps most significantly, the challenges cities face under the presidency of Donald Trump.

    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito first spoke of the conference in her final State of the City speech in February, when she struck a defiant tone against divisive politics and the threats

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    De Blasio at Rikers (photo: Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he is putting into motion a planning process to close the jails on Rikers Island. The mayor, a first-term Democrat up for re-election this fall, was pulled somewhat begrudgingly to the politically- and fiscally-tenuous position by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who called for Rikers to be closed in her 2016 State of the City speech and formed a commission to create a plan to do so. That commission, led by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, is set to

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    Council Finance Chair Ferreras-Copeland (two photos: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The City Council held its first hearing on Thursday to examine Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.7 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018, starting the next phase in a months-long process to determine the city’s spending priorities amid broad uncertainty about its fiscal future.

    Roughly $7 billion in federal funding to the city is threatened by the proposed policies of the Trump administration and the Republican Congress in

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    Mayor de Blasio presents his budget (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The city’s annual budget season kicked off on January 25 with the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.7 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. Starting Thursday, the City Council will hold weeks of hearings to examine the financial plan,

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    Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @BenKallos)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito vowed defiance against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and promised to uplift and empower New York City’s immigrant population in her final State of the City speech at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn on Thursday.

    Mark-Viverito, the first Latina speaker of the body, has 10 months left on the job before she is term-limited out of the Council. On Thursday, she sought to cement her legacy and inspire with her speech, titled “Who We Are,” that recognized the

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign account recently posted a Twitter message touting the NYPD’s neighborhood policing initiative. “New York City is proving to the rest of the country that respectful, compassionate neighborhood policing drives down crime & makes us safer,” the tweet from @BilldeBlasio read.

    In a response symbolic of a problem de Blasio is facing as he heads into his re-election year, Lumumba

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    Bill Bratton departs (both photos: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Gotham Gazette's Top Ten Storylines of 2016 in New York Politics:

    10. Bill Bratton Leaves ‘On Top’
    In an extraordinary send-off -- his own mini-parade -- Bill Bratton departed 1 Police Plaza on September 16, 2016 for the final time as NYPD commissioner. For about two-and-a-half years Bratton was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police commissioner and the arrangement worked mostly well for both: Bratton had the job and power in it that he wanted, de Blasio had

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    Bill de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The City Council will pass a bill this week to put significant limits on the donations that political nonprofits aligned with elected officials can accept from entities with city business. Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to sign the bill, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, into law.

    While she has been a close ally of the mayor, in crafting the bill Mark-Viverito condemned one of the most controversial aspects of de Blasio’s tenure, The Campaign for One New York. And in supporting the bill, de

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    City Council chambers (photo: Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)


    The City Council is rushing through a package of bills to reform the city’s campaign finance system. About a dozen bills driven by Council members’ frustrations with the Campaign Finance Board and its rigorous reporting system are being moved through the Council at an almost unseen pace, raising eyebrows.

    There are actually two packages of bills that will be passed through the Council this week: one that has been sitting idle for months after a hearing, which will go through the

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    On Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    There is an ongoing conversation in New York about how to fix the bail system that many agree is broken, keeping too many poor people in jail after they are arrested for low-level nonviolent offenses but cannot afford to post bond and, at times, allowing individuals back onto the street who are prone to violence but able to pay bail. Efforts at reform have been full of fits and starts.

    About a month ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced measures to make

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo via flickr)


    The City Council’s long-awaited public bail fund, a project spearheaded by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is one step closer to being operational after receiving another required approval from state authorities.  

    Mark-Viverito announced the plan to create a $1.4 million

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    Within the next two months, the City Council is expected to vote on a large legislative package that would alter the city’s campaign finance system in a variety of ways and regulate donations to political nonprofits, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said this week. Some of the proposals and the timing of their likely passage have raised concerns, though, that the Council is weakening the city’s model campaign finance system, pushing some reforms through after too long a wait and rushing other, newer bills through just in time for the next

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    Equality rally at City Hall (photo via Council Member Cumbo)


    The Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council announced a legislative package Tuesday aimed at equal rights and opportunities for women. With an “equality rally” outside City Hall before the full Council held a meeting at which some of the bills were introduced, legislators, advocates, and service providers expressed support for the legislation and argued for its necessity in light of Donald Trump’s election as President.

    The co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus, Council

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    Mark-Viverito at Trump Tower (photo: Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)


    Local elected officials continue to take stock of what a Trump presidency might mean for New York City, and with budget season around the corner, only one word can describe their feelings: uncertainty.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are all waiting to see what President-elect Donald Trump will actually do when he takes office in January. Trump, a Republican, made many campaign promises that alarmed city officials, who are almost all

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